Link tasks in a project

You can link any two tasks in a project to show their relationship (also called a task dependency). Dependencies drive the project schedule — once you link the tasks, every change you make to the predecessor affects the successor, which affects the next one, and so on.

These instructions are specific to Microsoft Project 2016, 2013, and 2010.

What do you want to do?

Link tasks

Insert a task between linked tasks

Link tasks in a Network Diagram

Link tasks in a Calendar

Link manually scheduled tasks

Other ways to link tasks

Link tasks

  1. Click View > Gantt Chart.

    Task Views group on the View tab.

  2. Hold down Ctrl and click the two tasks you want to link (in the Task Name column).

  3. Click Task > Link Tasks.

    Link button in the Schedule group of the Task tab

To remove a link, select the two linked tasks and then click Task > Unlink Tasks Unlink Tasks button on the Tasks tab of the ribbon. .

Project creates a simple finish-to-start task link by default, which means the first task (the predecessor) needs to finish before the second task (the successor) can start.

Project supports four kinds of task links. If you want to change the link type, see Change a task link.

Insert a task between linked tasks

You can set up Project so that when you insert a new task between linked tasks, the new task is automatically linked to the surrounding tasks.

  1. Click File > Options.

  2. In the Project Options dialog box, click Schedule and scroll to the Scheduling options in this project section.

  3. Select the Autolink inserted or moved tasks check box.

  4. Insert the new task.

Link tasks in a Network Diagram

  1. Click View > Network Diagram.

    Image of Network Diagram button on the View tab.

  2. Point to the center of the predecessor task box.

  3. Drag the line to the successor task box.

    Image of two tasks linked on a network diagram

Link tasks in a Calendar

  1. Click View > Calendar.

    View tab, Task Views group, Calendar button.

  2. Point to the predecessor task’s calendar bar.

  3. Drag the line to the successor task's calendar bar.

Link manually scheduled tasks

When you link a manually scheduled task to another task, Project places the manually scheduled task relative to the other task.

You can configure Project so that a manually scheduled task does not move when you link it to another task:

  1. Click File > Options.

  2. In the Project Options dialog box, click Schedule and scroll to the Scheduling options in this project section.

  3. Uncheck the Update manually scheduled tasks when editing links check box.

Learn more about manually and automatically scheduled tasks.

Other ways to link tasks

  • If you have tasks that depend on the successful completion of an entire project, consider setting up a master project.

  • To highlight how a single task relates to other tasks, use task paths.

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These instructions are specific to Microsoft Project 2007.

What do you want to do?

About linking tasks

Link tasks by using the Gantt Chart view

Link tasks by using the Network Diagram view

Link tasks by using the Calendar view

Turn autolinking on or off

About linking tasks

When you link tasks in Project, the default link type is finish-to-start. However, a finish-to-start link does not work in every situation. Project provides additional types of task links so you can model your project realistically.

Link type

Example

Description

Finish-to-start (FS)

Finish to Start link image

The dependent task (B) cannot begin until the task that it depends (A) on is complete.

For example, if you have two tasks, "Dig foundation" and "Pour concrete," the "Pour concrete" task cannot begin until the "Dig foundation" task is complete.

Start-to-start (SS)

Start to Start Link image

The dependent task (B) cannot begin until the task that it depends (A) on begins.

The dependent task can begin anytime after the task that it depends on begins. The SS link type does not require that both tasks begin simultaneously.

For example, if you have two tasks, "Pour concrete" and "Level concrete," the "Level concrete" task cannot begin until the "Pour concrete" task begins.

Finish-to-finish (FF)

Finish to Finish task link image

The dependent task (B) cannot be completed until the task that it depends on (A) is completed.

The dependent task can be completed anytime after the task that it depends on is completed. The FF link type does not require that both tasks be completed simultaneously.

For example, if you have two tasks, "Add wiring" and "Inspect electrical," the "Inspect electrical" task cannot be completed until the "Add wiring" task is completed.

Start-to-finish (SF)

Finish to Start task link image

The dependent task (B) cannot be completed until the task that it depends on (A) begins.

The dependent task can be completed anytime after the task that it depends on begins. The SF link type does not require that the dependent task be completed concurrent with the beginning of the task on which it depends.

For example, the roof trusses for your construction project are built offsite. Two of the tasks in your project are "Truss delivery" and "Assemble roof." The "Assemble roof" task cannot be completed until the "Truss delivery" task begins.

When inserting a task among linked tasks, you can have a new task linked automatically or not link it at all.

  • To link the new task, click the task that you want the new task to precede, and then click New Task on the Insert menu.

    Note: If this doesn't work, on the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the Schedule tab. Make sure that the Autolink inserted or moved tasks check box is selected.

  • To add the new task without linking it, click the task with which the new task will occur concurrently, and then drag to create the new task in a blank portion of the Network Diagram.

Link tasks by using the Gantt Chart view

  1. On the View menu, click Gantt Chart.

  2. In the Task Name field, select two or more tasks you want to link, in the order you want to link them.

    • To select nonadjacent tasks, hold down CTRL and click the tasks you want to link.

    • To select adjacent tasks, hold down SHIFT and click the first and last tasks you want to link.

  3. Click Link Tasks Button image .

    Project creates a finish-to-start task link by default. You can change this task link to start-to-start, finish-to-finish, or start-to-finish.

Link tasks by using the Network Diagram view

  1. On the View menu, click Network Diagram.

  2. Position the pointer in the center of the predecessor task box.

  3. Drag to the successor task box.

Link tasks by using the Calendar view

  1. On the View menu, click Calendar.

  2. Position the pointer on the calendar bar for the predecessor task.

  3. Drag to the successor task's calendar bar.

Turn autolinking on or off

By default, when you insert a task among linked tasks, the new task is automatically linked with the surrounding tasks. For example, if you have three tasks with finish-to-start links and you add a new task between them, the new task will take on a finish-to-start link with the tasks above and below it.

You can easily turn this option off, so that inserting a new task does not automatically link it with the surrounding tasks. If autolinking is turned off, you can easily turn it back on.

  1. On the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the Schedule tab.

  2. To turn autolinking off, clear the Autolink inserted or moved tasks check box.

    To turn autolinking on, select the Autolink inserted or moved tasks check box.

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